RARE Daily

Zenas Raises $200 Million to Advance Immunology-Focused Clinical Programs

May 7, 2024

Rare Daily Staff

Zenas BioPharma, a company developing and commercializing inflammation and immunology-directed therapies for rare and more prevalent diseases, closed an upsized $200 million series C preferred stock financing.

Proceeds will support ongoing mid- to late-stage clinical development programs for the company’s lead product candidate, obexelimab, a bifunctional monoclonal antibody designed to bind both CD19 and FcγRIIb to inhibit the activity of B cells, plasmablasts, and CD19-expressing plasma cells.

The obexelimab clinical programs include an ongoing global phase 3 registration-directed trial in IgG4-related disease, which is a rare systemic fibro-inflammatory disorder, two planned phase 2 randomized controlled trials in multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosus, and an ongoing open label global phase 2 trial in warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia.

“We are appreciative of the support we have received from this group of tremendous life sciences investors as we advance the ongoing obexelimab development program across multiple auto-immune diseases,” said Lonnie Moulder, founder and CEO of Zenas BioPharma. “This financing enables us to complete multiple potentially value driving clinical programs.”

Obexelimab has demonstrated clinical activity and was well-tolerated in five clinical trials, including in several autoimmune diseases, in which 198 subjects were dosed. In these clinical studies, obexelimab demonstrated inhibition of B cell function without depleting the cells, resulting in encouraging treatment effect in patients with various autoimmune diseases. Zenas acquired exclusive worldwide rights to obexelimab from Xencor.

SR One along with NEA, Norwest Venture Partners, and Delos Capital led the financing, with significant participation from Enavate Sciences and Longitude Capital. Additional new investors, the Federated Hermes Kaufmann Funds, and Arrowmark Partners, along with existing investors, Fairmount, Wellington Management, Rock Springs Capital, Pivotal bioVenture Partners, Vivo Capital, Quan Venture Fund, and Superstring Capital participated in the financing. In conjunction with the financing, Jake Nunn, venture partner at SR One, and Tim Xiao, Partner at Delos Capital, joined Zenas’ Board of Directors.

Photo: Lonnie Moulder, founder and CEO of Zenas BioPharma

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